the great vegetarian debate

Exploring Theravāda's connections to other paths - what can we learn from other traditions, religions and philosophies?
chownah
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Re: the great vegetarian debate

Post by chownah » Tue May 06, 2014 2:43 am

lyndon taylor wrote:
chownah wrote:
When you say that this is not something that you would suggest are you saying that if a person goes to a market and buys a live chicken and the seller kills the chicken and one has some 'negative' reaction that one should not be mindful of that negative reaction and try to use that experience to understand how that reaction arises and to perhaps further develop one's equanimity?......that it is better to not be mindful of what is going on and just indulge in the negative reaction?
chownah
Would you say the same thing about a guard at a Nazi concentration camp witnessing the killing, sometimes its just OK to have a negative reaction to seeing something, no need to get all equanameaous about it......
Yes, I would. There are people acting as guards in concentration camps today who witness killings. The best thing is for them to be mindful of what is happening and to develop equanimity.....this does not preclude action to change what is happening.

I think it would be good to revisit some teachings on equanimity so here is an excerpt from Wings to Awakening:

G. Equanimity in Concentration & Discernment

We have pinpointed the fifth, reflective level of noble right concentration [§150] as the mental state in which transcendent discernment can arise. A look at how equanimity functions in this process will help to flesh out our account of this state.

The word "equanimity" is used in the Canon in two basic senses: 1) a neutral feeling in the absence of pleasure and pain, and 2) an attitude of even-mindedness in the face of every sort of experience, regardless of whether pleasure and pain are present or not. The attitude of even-mindedness is what is meant here.

Passage §179 gives an outline of the place of equanimity in the emotional life of a person on the path of practice. This outline is interesting for several reasons. To begin with, contrary to many teachings currently popular in the West, it shows that there is a skillful use for the sense of distress that can come to a person who longs for the goal of the practice but has yet to attain it. This sense of distress can help one to get over the distress that comes when one feels deprived of pleasant sensory objects, for one realizes that the goal unattained is a much more serious lack than an unattained sensual pleasure. With one's priorities thus straightened out, one will turn one's energy to the pursuit of the path, rather than to the pursuit of sensual pleasure. As the path thus matures, it results in the sense of joy that comes on gaining an insight into the true nature of sensory objects — a joy that in turn matures into a sense of equanimity resulting from that very same insight. This is the highest stage of what is called equanimity "dependent on multiplicity" — i.e., equanimity in the face of multiple objects.

Passages §180 and §181 go into more detail on how to foster this sort of equanimity. Passage §181 describes three stages in the process: 1) development, or a conscious turning of the mind to equanimity in the face of agreeable or disagreeable objects; 2) a state of being in training, in which one feels a spontaneous disillusionment with agreeable or disagreeable objects; and 3) fully developed faculties, in which one's even-mindedness is so completely mastered that one is in full control of one's thought processes in the face of agreeable or disagreeable objects. Because the first of these three stages is a conscious process, both §180 and §181 illustrate it with a series of graphic metaphors to help "tune" the mind to the right attitude and to help keep that attitude firmly in mind.


chownah

chownah
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Re: the great vegetarian debate

Post by chownah » Tue May 06, 2014 2:55 am

beeblebrox wrote:
chownah wrote: When you say that this is not something that you would suggest are you saying that if a person goes to a market and buys a live chicken and the seller kills the chicken and one has some 'negative' reaction that one should not be mindful of that negative reaction and try to use that experience to understand how that reaction arises and to perhaps further develop one's equanimity?......that it is better to not be mindful of what is going on and just indulge in the negative reaction?
chownah
Hi Chownah,

I understand what you're trying to say, but I think that you forget the first precept involves not killing. If the person was a serious practitioner of Buddhism, then he/she would've not gone to a market and then ordered a chicken to be killed.

It is moot whether he keeps on observing his reaction every time a chicken was killed... because if the mindfulness was successfully observed, he would've not strayed from the precept in the first place.

This kind of observation would be unsuccessful every time, by definition.

:anjali:
I think you do not understand what I am saying, if you did you would not think that I have forgotten that there is a precept involving killing.

I think you should consider whether you should be declaring who is and who is not a serious practitioner of Buddhism. Your statement disenfranchises 90% of Buddhists in Thailand.

People do go to markets and buy chicken to eat......they do it regularly.....every week.... I have suggested a way for them to use that experience to develop their practice. What do you suggest they should do?

I thought of putting the excerpt on equanimity in this post but will instead just suggest that whoever reads this post look at the excerpt which can be found in my post immediately above.
chownah

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Mkoll
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Re: the great vegetarian debate

Post by Mkoll » Tue May 06, 2014 5:00 am

chownah wrote:
beeblebrox wrote:
chownah wrote: When you say that this is not something that you would suggest are you saying that if a person goes to a market and buys a live chicken and the seller kills the chicken and one has some 'negative' reaction that one should not be mindful of that negative reaction and try to use that experience to understand how that reaction arises and to perhaps further develop one's equanimity?......that it is better to not be mindful of what is going on and just indulge in the negative reaction?
chownah
Hi Chownah,

I understand what you're trying to say, but I think that you forget the first precept involves not killing. If the person was a serious practitioner of Buddhism, then he/she would've not gone to a market and then ordered a chicken to be killed.

It is moot whether he keeps on observing his reaction every time a chicken was killed... because if the mindfulness was successfully observed, he would've not strayed from the precept in the first place.

This kind of observation would be unsuccessful every time, by definition.

:anjali:
I think you do not understand what I am saying, if you did you would not think that I have forgotten that there is a precept involving killing.

I think you should consider whether you should be declaring who is and who is not a serious practitioner of Buddhism. Your statement disenfranchises 90% of Buddhists in Thailand.

People do go to markets and buy chicken to eat......they do it regularly.....every week.... I have suggested a way for them to use that experience to develop their practice. What do you suggest they should do?

I thought of putting the excerpt on equanimity in this post but will instead just suggest that whoever reads this post look at the excerpt which can be found in my post immediately above.
chownah
One can still call oneself a "Buddhist" and kill beings, steal, etc. Those who do that are just closer to the "not serious" as opposed to the "serious" part of the Buddhist spectrum.

Either way we're all owners of our own actions and will be heir to them. That's what's important to recall every day along with the other four daily recollections (AN 5.57). If you're "serious", that is. ;)
Namo tassa bhagavato arahato samma sambuddhassa
Namo tassa bhagavato arahato samma sambuddhassa
Namo tassa bhagavato arahato samma sambuddhassa

Dinsdale
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Re: the great vegetarian debate

Post by Dinsdale » Tue May 06, 2014 10:01 am

Ron-The-Elder wrote: Should PETA be reigned-in? :thinking:
No, what should be reigned in is cruelty to animals in all it's forms, treating animals like commodities or playthings, etc etc.
Buddha save me from new-agers!

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Ron-The-Elder
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Re: the great vegetarian debate

Post by Ron-The-Elder » Tue May 06, 2014 11:35 am

Spiny Norman wrote:
Ron-The-Elder wrote: Should PETA be reigned-in? :thinking:
No, what should be reigned in is cruelty to animals in all it's forms, treating animals like commodities or playthings, etc etc.
Thanks, Spiny. I agree with that personal approach. May you earn much merit as a result. :toast: By the same token I will observe all "Keep off the grass!" signs, and only harvest my vegetables after they have died and seeded, ; )

Good to hear from you as always.

_/\_Ron
What Makes an Elder? :
A head of gray hairs doesn't mean one's an elder. Advanced in years, one's called an old fool.
But one in whom there is truth, restraint, rectitude, gentleness,self-control, he's called an elder, his impurities disgorged, enlightened.
-Dhammpada, 19, translated by Thanissaro Bhikkhu.

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beeblebrox
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Re: the great vegetarian debate

Post by beeblebrox » Tue May 06, 2014 2:41 pm

chownah wrote: I think you do not understand what I am saying, if you did you would not think that I have forgotten that there is a precept involving killing.

I think you should consider whether you should be declaring who is and who is not a serious practitioner of Buddhism. Your statement disenfranchises 90% of Buddhists in Thailand.

People do go to markets and buy chicken to eat......they do it regularly.....every week.... I have suggested a way for them to use that experience to develop their practice. What do you suggest they should do?

I thought of putting the excerpt on equanimity in this post but will instead just suggest that whoever reads this post look at the excerpt which can be found in my post immediately above.
chownah
I commented on your response to Waterchan's post... which was about a person witnessing a chicken be killed that he just bought. I thought your suggestion was inappropriate.

You don't practice equanimity by ordering things to be killed in front of you.

That's all.

:anjali:

chownah
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Re: the great vegetarian debate

Post by chownah » Tue May 06, 2014 3:35 pm

beeblebrox wrote:
You don't practice equanimity by ordering things to be killed in front of you.
Clearly you are correct. But whatever you do it is better to do it with discernment supported by equanimity.
chownah

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lyndon taylor
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Re: the great vegetarian debate

Post by lyndon taylor » Fri May 23, 2014 12:22 am

Vegetarian food can kill you, just ask this poor deceased woman!!

http://www.upi.com/Top_News/US/2014/05/ ... =sec&or=tn
18 years ago I made one of the most important decisions of my life and entered a local Cambodian Buddhist Temple as a temple boy and, for only 3 weeks, an actual Therevada Buddhist monk. I am not a scholar, great meditator, or authority on Buddhism, but Buddhism is something I love from the Bottom of my heart. It has taught me sobriety, morality, peace, and very importantly that my suffering is optional, and doesn't have to run my life. I hope to give back what little I can to the Buddhist community, sincerely former monk John

http://trickleupeconomictheory.blogspot.com/

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Ron-The-Elder
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Re: the great vegetarian debate

Post by Ron-The-Elder » Fri May 23, 2014 3:56 am

Hi, John. Scary!

A classic case of what happens when you get someone's goat, when you should have cooked his goat. :thinking:

Sad! Hope they send him back to Pakistan, so that we don't have to pay for his imprisonment. Besides, federal prisons rarely cook goat for dinner.
What Makes an Elder? :
A head of gray hairs doesn't mean one's an elder. Advanced in years, one's called an old fool.
But one in whom there is truth, restraint, rectitude, gentleness,self-control, he's called an elder, his impurities disgorged, enlightened.
-Dhammpada, 19, translated by Thanissaro Bhikkhu.

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Mkoll
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Re: the great vegetarian debate

Post by Mkoll » Fri May 23, 2014 4:17 am

The 75-year-old's attorney, Julie Clark, is arguing that her client is only guilty of manslaughter because he comes from a place where wife beating is normal and didn't mean to kill her.

"He comes from a culture where he thinks this is appropriate conduct, where he can hit his wife," Clark said in Brooklyn Supreme Court. "He culturally believed he had the right to hit his wife and discipline his wife."
Oh, so I guess he had the right to kill his wife too, Ms. Lawyer?

Glad I don't have that job.
Namo tassa bhagavato arahato samma sambuddhassa
Namo tassa bhagavato arahato samma sambuddhassa
Namo tassa bhagavato arahato samma sambuddhassa

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cooran
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Re: the great vegetarian debate

Post by cooran » Fri May 23, 2014 4:50 am

Back to topic please.

With metta,
Chris
---The trouble is that you think you have time---
---Worry is the Interest, paid in advance, on a debt you may never owe---
---It's not what happens to you in life that is important ~ it's what you do with it ---

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Ron-The-Elder
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Re: the great vegetarian debate

Post by Ron-The-Elder » Fri May 23, 2014 5:03 am

:focus:

I was wondering how many religions have a requirement to observe a vegetarian diet.
Indian religions[edit]
Most Indian religions have philosophical schools that forbid consumption of meat and Jainism institutes an outright ban on the same. Consequently, India is home to more vegetarians than any other country. About 30% of India's 1.2 billion population practices lacto vegetarianism,[7] with overall meat consumption increasing.[8] The per capita meat consumption in India in 2002 was 5.2 kg, while it was 24 times more in the United States at 124.8 kg. Meat consumption in the United States and India grew at about 40% over the last 50 years. In 1961 Indian per capita meat consumption was 3.7 kg, while the US consumption was 89.2 kg. (1 kg = 2.205 lb)[9]
source: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Vegetarianism_and_religion

In the same WIKI I found the following very interesting, which seems to expose a contradiction between the Pali Canon and certain Mahayana Sutras:
Buddhist vegetarianism
The First Precept prohibits Buddhists from killing people or animals.[36] The matter of whether this forbids Buddhists from eating meat has long been a matter of debate.
The first Buddhist monks and nuns were forbidden from growing, storing, or cooking their own food; they relied entirely on the generosity of alms to feed themselves, and were not allowed to accept money to buy their own food.[37][38] They could not make special dietary requests, and had to accept whatever food almsgivers had available, including meat.[37] Monks and nuns of the Theravada school of Buddhism, which predominates in Sri Lanka, Thailand, Cambodia, Burma, and Laos, still follow these strictures today.
These strictures were relaxed in China, Korea, Japan, and other countries that follow Mahayana Buddhism, where monasteries were situated in remote mountain areas and the distance to the nearest towns made daily almsrounds impractical. There, Buddhist monks and nuns could cultivate their own crops, store their own harvests, cook their own meals, and accept money to buy anything else they needed in terms of food in the market.
According to the Vinaya Pitaka, when Devadatta urged him to make complete abstinence from meat compulsory, the Buddha refused, maintaining that "monks would have to accept whatever they found in their begging bowls, including meat, provided that they had not seen, had not heard, and had no reason to suspect that the animal had been killed so that the meat could be given to them".[39] There were prohibitions on specific kinds of meat: meat from humans, meat from royal animals such as elephants or horses, meat from dogs, and meat from dangerous animals like snakes, lions, tigers, panthers, bears and hyenas.[37]
On the other hand, certain Mahayana sutras strongly denounce the eating of meat. According to the Mahayana Mahaparinirvana Sutra, the Buddha revoked this permission to eat meat and warned of a dark age when false monks would claim that they were allowed meat.[38] In the Lankavatara Sutra, a disciple of the Buddha named Mahamati asks "[Y]ou teach a doctrine that is flavoured with compassion. It is the teaching of the perfect Buddhas. And yet we eat meat nonetheless; we have not put an end to it."[40] An entire chapter is devoted to the Buddha's response, wherein he lists a litany of spiritual, physical, mental, and emotional reasons why meat-eating should be abjured.[41] However, according to Suzuki (2004:211), this chapter on meat-eating is a "later addition to the text....It is quite likely that meat-eating was practiced more or less among the earlier Buddhists, which was made a subject of severe criticism by their opponents. The Buddhists at the time of the Laṅkāvatāra did not like it, hence this addition in which an apologetic tone is noticeable."[42] Phelps (2004:64–65) points to a passage in the Surangama Sutra which implies advocacy of "not just a vegetarian, but a vegan lifestyle"; however, numerous scholars over the centuries have concluded that the Śūraṅgama Sūtra is a forgery.[43][44] Moreover, in the Mahayana Mahaparinirvana Sutra, the same sutra which records his retraction of permission to eat meat, the Buddha explicitly identifies as "beautiful foods" honey, milk, and cream, all of which are eschewed by vegans.[38]
In the modern Buddhist world, attitudes toward vegetarianism vary by location. In China and Vietnam, monks typically eat no meat (and with other restrictions as well—see Buddhist cuisine). In Japan or Korea some schools do not eat meat, while most do. Theravadins in Sri Lanka and South-east Asia do not practice vegetarianism. All Buddhists however, including monks, are allowed to practice vegetarianism if they wish to do so. Phelps (2004:147) states that "There are no accurate statistics, but I would guess—and it is only a guess—that worldwide about half of all Buddhists are vegetarian".
What Makes an Elder? :
A head of gray hairs doesn't mean one's an elder. Advanced in years, one's called an old fool.
But one in whom there is truth, restraint, rectitude, gentleness,self-control, he's called an elder, his impurities disgorged, enlightened.
-Dhammpada, 19, translated by Thanissaro Bhikkhu.

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lyndon taylor
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Re: the great vegetarian debate

Post by lyndon taylor » Fri May 23, 2014 5:30 am

lyndon taylor wrote:Vegetarian food can kill you, just ask this poor deceased woman!!

http://www.upi.com/Top_News/US/2014/05/ ... =sec&or=tn
I just found it ironic that we keep hearing repeated on these forums how much more reasonable meat eaters are than vegetarians and vegans in particular, this article would argue otherwise!!!
18 years ago I made one of the most important decisions of my life and entered a local Cambodian Buddhist Temple as a temple boy and, for only 3 weeks, an actual Therevada Buddhist monk. I am not a scholar, great meditator, or authority on Buddhism, but Buddhism is something I love from the Bottom of my heart. It has taught me sobriety, morality, peace, and very importantly that my suffering is optional, and doesn't have to run my life. I hope to give back what little I can to the Buddhist community, sincerely former monk John

http://trickleupeconomictheory.blogspot.com/

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Re: the great vegetarian debate

Post by Dinsdale » Fri May 23, 2014 9:59 am

lyndon taylor wrote: I just found it ironic that we keep hearing repeated on these forums how much more reasonable meat eaters are than vegetarians and vegans in particular, this article would argue otherwise!!!
I guess nobody likes having their lifestyle choices challenged. ;)
Buddha save me from new-agers!

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Ron-The-Elder
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Re: the great vegetarian debate

Post by Ron-The-Elder » Fri May 23, 2014 8:52 pm

Spiny Norman wrote:
lyndon taylor wrote:
I guess nobody likes having their lifestyle choices challenged. ;)
Hi, Spiny. Maybe challenging is a problem for most folks, but many seem to prefer paying for their life-styles by "charging". At least that's what keeps Visa, Master-Card, and American Express in business. :broke:
What Makes an Elder? :
A head of gray hairs doesn't mean one's an elder. Advanced in years, one's called an old fool.
But one in whom there is truth, restraint, rectitude, gentleness,self-control, he's called an elder, his impurities disgorged, enlightened.
-Dhammpada, 19, translated by Thanissaro Bhikkhu.

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